At sunrise on Tuesday, the ceremonial flame of the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival "Holy is the Land" (Püha on maa), was lit on the lake island of Viitina in Võru County. The flame will now be brought to Tallinn and kept by the Academic Male Choir of Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) until the festival begins.
he flame lighting ceremony was attended by the artistic teams of the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival, along with the festival's general directors Pärt Uusberg, Agne Kurrikoff-Herman and Juhan Uppin.
In years when the general Estonian Song and Dance Festival takes place, the ceremonial flame is lit in Tartu, where the first ever Song Festival took place. It then goes on a tour of the country, before eventually arriving in Tallinn in time for the celebration to begin.
However, no such tradition has been established for the Youth Song and Dance Celebration and so instead, the flame-lighting ceremony is designed to fit the overall theme of the festival.
"There are several connections between Võru County and this year's Youth Festival. It was while we were walking in Ööbikuorg in Võru County that the song "Light!" ("Valgust!") was born and set to the words of Hando Runnel," said Pärt Uusberg, artistic director of the Song Festival "Holy is the Land."
"The program for this year's Youth Song and Dance Festival also includes the song "Sata-sata!" by the Võro singer Mari Kalkun," he added.
The fire was symbolically brought to Viitina Lake by the general directors of the last Song and Dance Festival, Peeter Perens and Vaike Rajaste.
Director of the Estonian Song and Dance Festival Foundation Margus Toomla then lit a torch from the fire and used it to ignite a bonfire, which had been built by members of the local community on Viitina Lake island.
Dozens of wood chips had been placed on the fire by members of Youth Festival's artistic team. From the lit bonfire, the organizers of the previous Youth Song and Dance Celebration, which took place in 2017, lit a torch and handed it over to the organizers of this year's festival.
During the lighting ceremony, Pärt Uusberg and Hando Runnel's work "Light!" was performed by the Võru Youth and Rõuge Basic School choir, together with members of the XIII Youth Song and Dance Celebration's artistic team.
The Hugo Treffner High School folk ensemble "Tantsutallad" then performed the dance " Soovide valss," which was created by Niina and Alfred Raadik, the initiators of the Youth Dance Festival tradition.
Afterwards, Mari Kalkun played her song "Sata-sata" in the Võru language. "Sat-sata" will be sung at the festival by the children's choirs and then accompanied by mixed groups of young dancers during the Dance Festival.
A lime tree was also planted in the grounds of Viitina Manor by the general managers of the festival.
After the ceremony, the torch was passed to the Academic Male Choir of Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), who will keep it until the XIII Youth Song and Dance Festival begins on June 30.
Editor: Michael Cole